Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Climb Africa’s tallest mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro – the ultimate adventure milestone. Kilimanjaro is a big mountain – nearly 20,000 feet – and not to be taken lightly.
There are an awful lot of companies out there who are offering Kilimanjaro Climbs – the vast majority focus on the 4 night Marangu Route. It’s the most accessible and easiest to arrange – and being hut-based, it’s cheaper. However, we don’t feel it offers an excellent experience or enough time to acclimatize, so we don’t offer it. Instead, we focus on the wilderness routes. These are the routes where the quality of equipment, skill of the guide, and the outfitter’s professionalism are crucial. Pick a company that cuts corners to give you an attractive price, and it will inevitably impact the quality and safety of the climb. We don’t cut corners.
Real Attention to Safety and Guides
We take this mountain very seriously. The directors are mountaineers themselves, so they know about mountains. Our guides are the best trained on the mountain – no idle boast as our guides are the ones who train the National Parks Rescue Team! We ensure every one of them meets our high standards; most of them have been with us for many, many years and have risen through the ranks collecting experience and qualifications as they go. The absolute minimum first aid qualification is the NOLS Wilderness First Responder – a rigorous world standard externally regulated course – not something we made up ourselves! Beyond that, we undertake repeated practicals, tricky scenarios, and internal tests to ensure nothing is forgotten. In fact, our guides are so good that other companies often camp close to us, and our guides are called upon to rescue others. ALL our climbs go with a Gamow bag and oxygen, AND our guides know how to use them – they are demonstrated to the clients on EVERY trip, so everyone is familiar with them. We also carry HF radios and report back to the office every day – from there. We monitor the group’s progress and health.
It goes without saying that our equipment is first class – we use Mountain Hardware 3 man mountain tents – built to withstand anything nature can throw at them – but only ever put two people in them, so there is plenty of room. We send a roomy mess tent with tables and chairs. Aside from somewhere to eat, there is nothing worse than having bad weather close in and being stuck in your sleeping tent – so the mess tent provides somewhere to congregate. Porters don’t sleep in our mess tent – we take plenty of separate tents for them – so no shivering figures are waiting outside as the clients eat their dinner. We take caravan style flush toilets and tents up on the mountain for our groups – It’s no fun waiting in a long queue for the National Parks toilets in the freezing pre-dawn light.
Our food is varied and tasty; we use a lot of fresh ingredients rather than dried food. The menu was designed by a nutritionist to provide the right balance of energy and digestibility. At altitude, most people lose their appetite, and food is harder to digest. So lower down, we offer large energy providing meals whilst higher up we offer a variety of small, easily digestible options hoping that something will appeal. Plenty of trail food to keep the energy levels up during the day – from hot soup to dried fruit and chocolate.
Our Environmental and Social Responsibilities
We have been around the mountain long enough to see the changes and impacts of tourism. Some of these are good – seasonal work opportunities for porters offer a way to support subsistence agriculture and the chance for those with aptitude and enthusiasm to climb the work ladder as a way out of their financial vulnerability. The flip side is environmental degradation on the mountain. Irresponsible companies putting untrained and ill-equipped porters live at risk for little or no pay. Undisciplined, short-sighted crews abandoning piles of rotting refuse behind the nearest boulder rather than carrying it down and cause the build-up of human waste at high altitude. We have tight waste disposal policies and transports human waste down the mountain to an altitude where it will decompose. Still, beyond that, we work with our leaders, guides, and porters to raise their awareness of the need to protect and preserve the resource.
We offer free courses to our porters on everything from first aid to money management and HIV awareness. We pay the highest wages on the mountain – but we expect a lot in terms of responsibility and commitment. We have led several clean-up campaigns hauling thousands of kilos of rubbish off the mountain. We continue to work closely with National Parks to develop and enhance the experience on Kilimanjaro.
Undoubtedly by far and away, the best route on Kilimanjaro, in our opinion, is the Shira Plateau / Western Breach ascent. A wide variety of factors contribute to this exalted position; It’s far less traveled than most other routes. It crosses the Shira Plateau World Heritage Site. It offers unparalleled views of the glacier-clad western flank of the mountain. It moves through widely varying terrain – making the hike more interesting. The longer, slower ascent offers a far better chance for the body to acclimatize. The steep non-technical ascent of the realigned Western Breach is a truly breathtaking day of high altitude mountaineering excellence! To have the privilege of camping in the summit crater – with the whole of Africa spread out below is humbling. The high camp makes the summit day a real pleasure – just a couple of hours rather than leaving camp at midnight to grind up a scree slope in the dark. This route is 7 or 8 nights on the mountain – depending on whether an extra night at Lava Tower is added for acclimatization.
Of course, not everyone can afford the time or expense of 7 or 8 nights on Kilimanjaro – so we also offer the 6 night Machame Route. Another interesting route is taking in the wonderful Barranco Valley. Although it’s busier and offers less time to acclimatize, it still does a great climb, particularly outside the peak season.
To really boost summit success rate, we recommend 2 nights in our comfortable acclimatization camp set at 6,500 feet on the slopes of Mount Meru in Arusha National Park. It offers time to get over the flight and to plan and prepare for the climb – and of course, there is nothing quite like waking up in the heart of Africa with all its sights and smells.
Duration 6 days
Travel all around the year
Minimum 2 travelers
Price from 4,000 USD per person
Get in touch with one of our travel advisors and request more details about this luxury vacation.